Target zeros-in on school’s library update

Target recently selected P.S. 76 to receive a library makeover. The school will open in the fall with a renovated library space and 2,000 new books. (Top, l-r) Michael Thompson, Dulibel Guzman, Joseph Gonzalez, Damien Abete, Tonima Choudhury (Bottom, l-r) assistant principal Karen Humphrey, principal Louise Sedotto, assistant principal Maria Cioffi. Photo by Victor Chu

P.S. 76 is a top-notch school. Next year, it will boast a top-notch library. Target, the Minneapolis based retail giant, recently selected P.S. 76 for a library makeover.

Last month, Target reps toured the Adee Avenue school. P.S. 76 has no librarian and a piddling collection of dated books. The library will undergo a transformation this summer – new furniture, shelves, paint and carpet. On September 18, it will reopen and Target will donate 2,000 new books.

“We’re so excited,” P.S. 76 principal Louise Sedotto said.

The library will add six desktop computers and an automated checkout system. It was last renovated 25 years ago. Teachers will use the library, as will P.S. 76 parents. Sedotto will hire a full-time librarian and encourage students to visit the library after school, she said. Target Volunteers – civic-minded employees from nearby Target stores – will facilitate the makeover. P.S. 76 is one of 16 lucky schools nationwide. Target has never renovated a school library in the Bronx before. Last year, it selected P.S. 155 in East Harlem.

“We’re committed to…supporting local schools and early childhood reading,” said Target spokeswoman Delia McLinden.

P.S. 76 fit Target’s criteria. At least 65 percent of Sedotto’s 1,150 students are low-income; there’s a Target store in Marble Hill and a second will open at the Bronx Terminal Market soon.

On September 18, each P.S. 76 student will receive seven new books to take home. During the summer, Target and partner Heart of America Foundation will work with the NYC School Construction Authority to expand the library. The completed room will feature reading nooks, murals and a teaching space.

“Parents will be able to pick up their children up from school and borrow books at the same time,” Sedotto said. “Target is giving back to the community.”

Since 1946, Target has donated five percent of its income to the arts, education and social services, amounting to more than $3 million per week. In NYC, Target sponsorships include Free Friday Nights at the Museum of Modern Art, Free First Friday Nights at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Free Sundays at the Studio Museum of Harlem and Free Summer Nights at El Museo del Barrio.

Target awarded 27 Bronx schools fieldtrip grants in 2009. Students from P.S. 108 on Neill Avenue will visit Hostos Community College. Students from Pelham Preparatory Academy on Astor Avenue will visit the Bodies exhibition. Students from Lehman High School will visit the Museum of the Moving Image.

“We believe that the arts should remain a top priority, even in a bad economy,” McLinden said. “We’re committed to making the arts affordable and accessible.”

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